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British Industrial History

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William Beilby Avery

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William Beilby Avery (1854-1908) of W. and T. Avery

1854 Born in Edgbaston the son of William Henry Avery and his wife Maria Richmond Beilby

1871 Living at Norfolk Road, Edgbaston: William H. Avery (age 58 born Birmingham), Land Owner. Manufacturer employing 233 men and 71 boys and women. With his four children; William B. Avery (age 16 born Edgbaston); Edith E. Avery (age 13 born Edgbaston); Henry J. Avery (age 10 born Edgbaston); and Alice M. Avery (age 9 born Edgbaston). Also his sister-in-law Mary A. Beilby (age 36 Born Edinburgh). Four servants.[1]

1874 His father died but it was not until 1881 that William Beilby Avery and his brother, Henry J. Avery, took control of the business.



1908 Obituary [2]

Sir WILLIAM BEILBY AVERY, Bart., was born in Birmingham in 1854, being the son of the late Mr. W. H. Avery, and nephew of the late Mr. Thomas Avery, proprietors of the firm of W. and T. Avery, weighing-machine makers, of Birmingham.

On the death of his father in 1874, the firm passed into the charge of his executors until 1881, when Mr. W. B. Avery (as he then was), in conjunction with his brother, Mr. Henry J. Avery, assumed control of the undertaking, which was steadily developing its operations. At that time the firm employed between 600 and 700 hands, and had works at Mill Lane and West Bromwich. As these became too small the Soho Foundry was acquired.

In 1891 the business was converted into a private company, and in 1894 into a public company, shortly after which he retired from active participation in the work of the firm, though he retained a seat on the board of directors, and Mr. W. E. Hipkins became managing director.

During the time he controlled the business he invented many improvements in weighing apparatus, and he was mainly responsible for the passing of the Weights and Measures Act of 1889, which did much towards improving the weighing machines in use in this country and bringing oboist some uniformity in the administration of the previous Act of 1878.

He was a director of the Darracq Motor Car Co., and the Commonwealth Oil Corporation of Australia, and was created a Baronet in 1905.

His death took place at his residence in London on 28th October 1908, at the age of fifty-four.

He became a Member of this Institution in 1897.



Obituary 1908 [3]

. . . His father had died in 1874, but it was not until 1881 that he and his brother, Henry J. Avery, took control of the business of W. and T. Avery, the weighing machine makers. At this time the firm employed between 600 and 700 hands, and had works at Mill-lane and West Bromwich. These becoming too small, the Soho Foundry was acquired. In 1891 the business was converted into a private limited liability company, and in 1894 into a public company, . . . also a director of the United Rhodesian Goldfields, A. Darracq and Co, and the Commonwealth Oil Corporation, Limited. . . . [more]


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